Press releases

Highest number of European non-bank deals for a decade

- 785 direct lender deals were recorded in 2021, up 89% on 2020

02 March 2022

Last year resulted in the highest number of direct lending deals since Deloitte began tracking private debt markets in 2012. According to the latest Alternative Lender Deal Tracker, 2021 saw 785 deals completed, a year-on-year increase of 89% compared to 415 deals in 2020. In addition, the 217 deals completed in Q4 2021 was just short of the quarterly record in Q3 2021 of 226 deals.

Overall, the total number of alternative lending deals in Europe for the past ten years has now reached 3,534. Direct lenders consist of a wide range of non-bank institutions that lend directly into corporates at senior secured levels of the capital structure.

The UK remains the epicentre for European direct lending, accounting for 35% of all deals in 2021. This is down slightly on the 37% observed in 2020, reflecting warmer attitudes from continental European borrowers to non-bank lending solutions.

Robert Connold, head of alternative lending in debt advisory at Deloitte, commented: “The past ten years have seen the non-bank lenders fundamentally reshape the market. Capital continues to be deployed at record rates into the private debt market, and strong borrower appetite for new debt looks here to stay.

“2021 was a remarkable year for direct lending, boosted by deployment of dry capital built up in 2020. The extraordinary number of transactions came off the back of a roaring M&A landscape - despite concerns over wider economic recovery and the prospect of rate hikes in early 2022. Looking ahead for the rest of the year, I would expect prevailing inflationary, interest rate and supply chain concerns, coupled with the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to drive volatility in the number of the deals completed.”

By sector, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) remained the most active industry for direct lending across Europe, accounting for nearly a quarter of deals across 2021. In the UK alone, Business, Infrastructure & Professional Services regained top spot for deal activity in 2021 accounting for 29% of transactions, while TMT took a 20% share.

Leveraged buyouts continue to be the main driver of deal activity, accounting for 41% of deals across 2021. Meanwhile bolt-on M&A and Refinancing were also identified as motivations for 24% and 21% of deals respectively in the final quarter of 2021.



Note to editors

Deloitte’s Debt Advisory team runs a database with the leading European alternative lenders to monitor primary European deal activity. This time, 68 alternative debt funds participated in the Deloitte Alternative Lender Deal Tracker, which is released on a quarterly basis.

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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